Corruption and scandal is becoming as common in Canada as hockey and snow


It’s safe to say that Canada’s reputation has taken a hit under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, particularly through his foreign and environmental policies. Now it seems our standing as a clean, polite and honest nation has taken a hit as well.

Canada has placed among the 10 least corrupt countries in the world for the past six years according to rankings by Transparency International. That clean streak is about to change.

The Canadian Senate, the Prime Minister’s Office, the opposition parties and the mayors of Canada’s two biggest cities have all been marred by controversy in the last month.

First off we have the senate expense scandal where four senators had been claiming private expenses on the public dime. The scandal has been made worse due to the departure of Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright. Wright quit after the revelation he paid about $90,000 to Senator Mike Duffy to settle unentitled expenses.

Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party are polling at their lowest numbers in four years, the reason being the uncertainty of Harper’s role in the Duffy/Wright affair. In order to deflect attention away from his scandal plagued party, the Prime Minister’s Office with help from the media decided to share their misery.

bribery_and_corruption(2)The PMO leaked details to the press on how Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had been charging fees to speak at charity events back when he was a simple MP. Charging speaking fees is not illegal and often benefits the charity, but this controversy seems to be revolving around the charities that lost money and received no refund from Trudeau.

Around the same time, CTV blew up a story which found NDP leader Tom Mulcair passing through a check point at the base of Parliament Hill without stopping. He then went through multiple stop signs while a patrol car followed.

Thankfully and mercifully the spring session of parliament came to a close last week. Any casual observer must be wondering how anything gets done in this country with all the scandal, controversy and mudslinging going on. You would think the House of Commons exists simply for MPs to poke fun at each other’s leaders, not to debate actual policy.

Not to be outdone by our politicians in Ottawa, our mayors have also become a demonstration of Canadian greed and fallacy. The whole world knows about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged crack smoking video. But while international coverage of the scandal has disappeared along with the video itself, the allegations continue to dog the mayor at every turn. Despite the seriousness of the allegations, Ford remains in office.

Where Toronto fails, Montreal succeeds. The mayor of my hometown, Michael Applebaum was arrested last week by Quebec’s anti-corruption unit and faces 14 charges including fraud, conspiracy, breach of trust and corruption.

Michael Applebaum
Michael Applebaum

Applebaum’s arrest came just months after taking over for departed Mayor Gérald Tremblay who resigned following allegations of corruption in Quebec’s construction industry. Saulie Zajdel, who worked in a ministerial office for the federal Conservatives on ethnic outreach, was charged alongside Applebaum.

Canada’s squeaky clean image clearly isn’t what it used to be, or at least not what it should be. Politics in this country is normally boring and tedious, which it should be more often than not. Excitement in politics usually means someone has done something wrong; the House of Commons should not be on par with the latest television soap operas.

Canada’s image might be changing, most of all in our own eyes, but I have a feeling that south of the border not much will change. No matter what happens up here, it pales in comparison to what happens down there.

Our clean, polite reputation has survived down south due to the lack of attention they give us. For example, the floods in Calgary and Alberta managed to get about ten seconds of air time on CNN. I used to take offence on how the United States and other countries ignored us up here, but in light of the past month I’m starting to think it’s for the best.


  1. Hard to fight corruption when the monied corporations are involved.
    Impossible to fight corruption when the insiders are corrupt.
    How does one take back the sovereignty of a country? NAFTA, TPP, CETA, etc. have placed corporate concerns ahead of people’s health, justice, environment, etc. and the Cdn PM has supported industry, not any other part of our system!


    CACL Canadian Corruption Rating by W B
    Canada leads World Bank corruption list
    More corrupt isn’t the kind of reputation Canada is looking for on the global stage.
    Unfortunately, Canada leads on the World Bank’s running list of people and companies barred from receiving financing under its fraud and corruption policy.
    As it stands today, Canada has the most new entries on the list, with the addition of 119 people and companies. All but two of those total entries are from SNC-Lavalin and affiliated companies, a World Bank spokesman said Wednesday.
    That compares to 2012, when no Canadian companies were added to the list
    SNC-Lavalin and related companies and individuals are banned from receiving World Bank-financed contracts for 10 years.
    The United States ranked second on the list by number of people and firms, also with some SNC-Lavalin related companies, followed by Indonesia and Britain, the World Bank said.
    James David Fielder, the World Bank’s manager of investigations, told the Financial Post that SNC-Lavalin’s ranking is the result of an investigation it conducted with the RCMP relating to the Padma Bridge Project in Bangladesh.
    The World Bank pulled its $1.2-billion (U.S.) loan for the project amid corruption allegations.
    On Wednesday, the Globe and Mail reported a former SNC Lavalin executive who oversaw construction of the bridge has been charged under Canada’s foreign bribery law. The RCMP charged two other SNC officials last year.
    The World Bank has been cracking down on fraud and corruption related to its aid program.
    The number of firms and individuals banned this year is four times the number for all of 2012.
    It expects sanctions to increase as it continues to fight against the misappropriation of its resources.
    “The World Bank means business. It’s ramping up in 2013 is a clear signal that it will not tolerate corruption or fraud,” Tim Coleman, a World Bank global investigations partner, told the South China Morning Post this week.
    The international bank estimates about US$20 billion to $40 billion is stolen from developing countries each year, which it argues undermines economic growth.
    It set up the Financial Market Integrity unit in 2001 to go after so-called “dirty money” and make the financial system more transparent.

    This condemnation of Canada on the World Stage is indeed disheartening but it does go to show that CACL Canadian Anti Corruption League is on the right track in fighting corruption in Government and Industry. We have a very fast growing following but need to convert these followers into bona fide members to show the strength and INTEGRITY OF CANDAIANS. is our web site also we are very strong on FaceBook. Sigh up for frequent news bulletins, talk to your friends and associates. How we are going to make a change is on our web site plus we want dialogue and suggestions. Soon we will become a Canadian Political Party, ( I dislike that term but it is the system)
    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
    The first country to tackle corruption in a serious and meaningful way will be the leader of the entire planet. Never doubt that others will follow and prosper in freedom and integrity.

Leave a Comment